LotShot: How and why it’s changing the online review process

Posted by
Gary Tucker, CEO, DealerRater

Gary Tucker, CEO, DealerRater

Following DealerRater’s announcement of its new LotShot web application at the 17th annual Digital Dealer Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas last month, Canadian auto dealer was intrigued to learn more about the new app and why it’s already having a significant impact among consumers posting online reviews. During an exclusive interview, here’s what DealerRater CEO Gary Tucker had to say:

HE: Can you tell us what was the catalyst for creating LotShot?

GT: Because our core business is based on building trust between consumers and dealers, it became clear to us that, given the evolution of online auto content through many different applications there was a clear opportunity to add photo content to the review process. We started looking at different ways to do this and discovered that by pursuing LotShot, we could help our dealership customers generate more reviews. Because 90 per cent of information is transmitted visually, we can take a review — which is already somebody capturing an experience — and add a photo. What we found was that doing so enriches the process, resulting in a consumer that is more engaged and trusts this review more than one that only contains text.

HE: Can you explain a little about how LotShot works?

GT: Essentially, the user will log into the DealerRater web panel through their smartphone. They can take a picture of a customer delivery right from their phone and via our application, are able to enter the customer’s email address. The customer instantly receives an email thanking them for their vehicle purchase and inviting them to submit a review, with the added ability of being able to download the photo. If the consumer clicks on the “right a review” button it gives them an opportunity to post with that photo.

HE: Following your pilot test, have their been some results that have really stood out?

1-LotShot-250GT: So far, what we’ve been seeing is a nearly 50 per cent conversion on outbound emails, meaning that when a dealer takes a LotShot photo and emails the customer, 50 per cent of the time a review is coming back to our DealerRater site. We are seeing a lot of feedback from our customers about how they are using the app and interacting with it. We’ve also been getting a lot of requests about pushing the photo directly through social media feeds. This is what we see as the next evolution of LotShot and we’re working with some of our dealers on that. We are looking for ways to make it easier for LotShot to become part of the flow at the dealership and to get those emails sent out.

HE: What do you think really triggers increased consumer interaction and dealership reviews from using the app?

GT: I think it’s really a combination of things. The photo itself certainly captures a moment in time at the dealership when a customer is excited to have their hands on a new vehicle. Additionally, it also allows the customer to engage in a way they haven’t been able to before when it comes to the review process, because it now enables them to include a photo with their review.

HE: Can you tell us a little about your strategy for rolling out LotShot?

GT: We launched it at Digital Dealer in September and LotShot is built into our Certified Essentials program in both the U.S. and Canada, so for those dealers who are already subscribing to the program on DealerRater, LotShot is automatically available to them. Via our customer service team, we are also reaching to help dealers learn about the tool and how to use it with their existing customer base.

HE: On a final note, we’ve seen that consumers appear to be increasingly relying on third party reviews as valid sources of information when determining which dealerships to do business with. What are your thoughts on that?

GT: There is a lot of research out there on the subject, but one thing we do see — and repeatedly is that consumers and more specifically — car buyers — are turning to third party reviews when searching for a dealership from which to buy. I like to equate this to the old conversation with our neighbour over the fence — it’s the same discussion, only now, it’s happening online.

For more information on LotShot, click here.

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